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          Front Page




GOP Leader Won't Resign Party Posts

By Rene Romo
Journal Staff Writer
       LAS CRUCES — Marcia Stirman of Alamogordo is rejecting a request that she resign from the Otero County GOP's executive committee and says she will not resign, if asked, as chair of the Republican Women of Otero County over her controversial remarks about Muslims in a letter to the editor published in the Alamogordo Daily News.
    Stirman's Oct. 21 letter called Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama a "Muslim socialist" and said "I believe Muslims are our enemies.''
    The letter prompted the Republican Party of New Mexico to quickly issue a statement saying Stirman's comments did not "reflect the values and beliefs of the Republican Party,'' and Otero County GOP Chairwoman Sassy Tinling said on Oct. 23 that the county party's executive committee would meet to formally ask for Stirman's resignation as head of the Republican Women.
    A week later, Stirman said Thursday that neither Tinling nor the county party has asked her to resign from her post as chair of Republican Women of Otero County. The Otero County GOP's executive committee was to have met on Monday to discuss calling for Stirman's resignation, but the meeting was canceled.
    Stirman, however, said she received a letter Tuesday from Tinling asking for Stirman's resignation from the county GOP's executive committee by today.
    Stirman said she did not plan to resign from the executive committee or as chair of the Republican Women of Otero County. In fact, she plans to seek another two-year term as chair of the women's group when members meet next Wednesday to elect officers.
    Tinling did not respond to phone calls or e-mail requests for comment.
    Stirman also said her comments have been misunderstood. She said she never meant to suggest that all Muslims are America's enemies, only that those "who are trying to kill us'' are.
    "It's taken on a life of its own. It's taken on a meaning that I never intended,'' Stirman said in a telephone interview.
    She added: "Can you say that all Christians are good? Absolutely not. ... It's not true.''
    Stirman's letter to the editor prompted a national Muslim organization to call on Republican Party officials to repudiate her "anti-Muslim comments.''
    The Alamogordo Daily News Web site received over 800 comments about the letter, and Stirman said she received more than 700 phone calls at her home, more than three-fourths of them positive. She said some calls were threatening and she filed a police report about the matter.